Springfield utility wants to bury CO2 underground

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | 1:15 p.m. CDT; updated 2:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SPRINGFIELD — A southwest Missouri utility is working to prove that it can safely bury carbon dioxide that's emitted from its power plants.

The test is being watched by other utilities, which are looking for ways to store the greenhouse gas in anticipation that Congress might pass a tax on carbon emissions in an effort to reduce global warming.

A crew working for City Utilities has drilled into a dense layer of rock that covers sandstone 2,000 feet deep. The utility hopes to prove that it can inject carbon dioxide, or CO2, into the sandstone and the rock above it will contain the gas.

Gary Pendergrass, CU's manager of environmental compliance, says the rock — which is dolomite and shale — is proving to be extremely tight and does not seem to let anything through it.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Pendergrass says that's good news for the utility's $6 million test project. The test is being conducted just east of the Springfield-based utility's southwest power plant.

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